The Hastings community will honor those men and women who served the country but did not return when the annual Memorial Day observances are held Monday, May 28.
The Lyle Russell Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1210 and the Nelson Lucking American Legion Post 47 of Hastings, and their auxiliaries, in collaboration with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Initiative, sponsor the Memorial Day programs at four locations.
The observance begins at 9 a.m. at the Minnesota Veterans Home, Hastings. The observance moves to Roadside Park at 10 a.m. Shorter ceremonies will be held at Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery, West First Street and Nininger Road, and at the Levee Veterans Memorial along the Mississippi River.
Deceased veterans will be remembered in a rifle salute by the VFW firing squad and the VFW Honor Guard buglers will play "Taps" following the rifle volley at each of the observances.
At the Roadside Park observance, there will be the singing of the national anthem, followed by the invocation and welcome by Mayor Paul Hicks. Gold Star mothers Mrs. Harry (Ruth) Swanson and Mrs. Daniel (Merilee) Carlson will be honored.
The Memorial Day speaker this year will be the Rev. Cole Kracke, parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.
Kracke, originally from Farmington, was in the United States Navy for 14 years and was stationed in Spain, California, Virginia and Washington. He was a commissioned Naval officer on board a guided missile ship for the Combat Information Center (CIC). He was ordained a priest in 2011 and has served as associate pastor at Seton Church since last July.
As part of the Roadside Park observance, winners of the VFW Voice of Democracy essay contests will read their essays. The American Legion Boys State representative will be honored as well.
Commanders and auxiliary presidents of the service organizations will place wreaths at each respective memorial.
People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs to the Roadside Park observance.
In case of bad weather, the Memorial Day program will be held at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 2035 W. 15th St.
On the preceding Saturday the American Legion, VFW, and their friends will place more than 1,000 flags on veterans' graves in and around the Hastings area cemeteries.
All observances are open to the community.